Everyone recovers from surgery differently. Some people experience more pain, and others experience different side effects as part of the recovery process. However, at some point, the pain you feel isn’t part of the healing process, but a warning sign that something is wrong.
If the mesh used to treat a hernia is faulty, it can lead to months or years of expensive medical treatment. Even when manufacturers issue recalls on defective medical devices, the damage is already done. Hundreds of patients could have the recalled product inside of them. This puts them at risk for chronic pain and suffering.
If you underwent hernia repair surgery and suffered from chronic pain and other problems, you could be experiencing complications from a mesh infection. There could be something more to your pain than side effects from recovery. Here’s what you need to know about mesh infections from hernia repair and why these problems occur.
How Likely Is Hernia Mesh Infection?
When something becomes infected, one of the easiest ways to deal with it is by taking antibiotics. Unfortunately, this is not possible when the infection occurs within the surgical mesh. This is because the synthetic mesh is non-absorbable, which blocks medication too. The only way to stop the spread of infection is with surgery to remove it.
Mesh is a popular option to repair hernia’s due to its effectiveness, as reported in the February 2016 edition of JAMA Surgery. The study found that repairs performed with mesh have a lower rate of recurrence than repairs performed with stitches.
However, the same report found that hernia mesh repairs have a higher rate of infection. JAMA reported that the probability of infection with mesh was 7.3 percent compared to just 6.6 percent with stitches. Mesh also increases the likelihood of seromas. These are sensitive pockets filled with a yellow-clear liquid. The risk with mesh (7.7 percent) is more than double that of using stitches (3.8%).
Various factors contribute to the likelihood of a hernia mesh infection. These include:
- Tobacco use.
- Technical factors related to the operation
- Certain medications are taken in after the treatment.
- Faulty mesh due to manufacturer defects
- Negligence on the part of doctors and medical professionals
- Non-sterile medical equipment
- Patient obesity
Even without these risk factors, the infection can still occur. A healthy patient can still experience infection or body rejection. Patients with one or more risk factors can suffer complications that are not related to them. Only a doctor can decide if the side effects caused by the surgery are normal or a sign of a more serious infection.
If you are experiencing chronic pain or discomfort, contact your doctor immediately.
What Are The Signs of A Hernia Mesh Infection?
If you know the symptoms of a hernia mesh infection, you can determine whether the situation is severe enough to see your doctor. When a few symptoms start to form, know that an infection is possible. It’s unlikely that you will experience all these symptoms and some of the symptoms might appear after others. Only a trained medical professional can accurately diagnose your problems. Contact your doctor if you experience:
- Pain and swelling around the surgical site
- Lack of healing around the incision site
- Flu-like symptoms
- Dental problems
- Blockages in your digestive tract
- Mesh migration toward the urinary bladder
- Bacterial infection
- Hernia recurrence
Some of these symptoms might come as a surprise to patients. According to the Oral Health Foundation, acids produced in the stomach and digestive tract can come up through the esophagus and affect the teeth. Bacteria caused by hernia infections can wear down teeth, making them more sensitive. Some patients might even experience more cavities than normal, tooth chips, or cracks because of wear.
All the symptoms of a hernia mesh infection should be treated seriously, but some need immediate action. If your surgical site refuses to heal within a few days or a week of surgery, contact your doctor. Your hernia site could be infected, or other medications could prevent it from healing.
Flu-like symptoms are also a warning sign that your infection is serious. Do not brush off symptoms like nausea, vomiting, a fever, or chills as normal. If you do seek treatment for the flu, let your doctor know that you recently had hernia surgery to see if it is related.
Any sort of blockage or pressure should be treated immediately. Defective mesh could puncture other organs in your body, causing internal bleeding. When in doubt, seek medical help.
Patients often ask about the difference between normal pain and infection. Pain is normal after surgery, but if it becomes severe, then you could have an infection. Patients should also alert their doctor if the pain starts getting worse in the days following surgery rather than better.
In severe cases, pain from surgery could become chronic. This might be another sign that your hernia mesh is defective. Keep your doctor updated on your pain levels so he or she can decide if the pain you’re experiencing needs additional treatment.
What To Do If You Think You Have A Hernia Infection
If you suspect that something is wrong after your hernia repair surgery, contact your doctor. Some pain and swelling are normal, but if the symptoms persist, it could be a sign of other problems. Your doctor can look at your incision and determine if your symptoms are normal or serious.
If there is an infection, check to see if there is a recall on the product. The FDA allows you to search for recalls by their product number. A recall is often the sign that the product you receive is defective. For more information on current recalls, you can also review our Hernia Mesh Recall resource center.
Medical manufacturers recall surgical devices when they discover that they’re defective. Recently, companies recalled several types of mesh because they increased the risk of infection and scar tissue. If you experience complications due to a recalled product, you could receive compensation.
Console and Associates has 25 years of experience handling personal injury claims. Over that time, we’ve worked with law firms across the country, including those that handle defective hernia mesh claims. If we cannot handle a claim, our goal is to connect you with an experienced attorney who can. If you suffered as a result of a defective mesh, call today. We’ll ask you a few questions so that we can put you in touch with the right attorney.